Support by the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation with Ethnic Minorities in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
At 1:00 p.m. on January 6 (local time; 3:00 p.m. Japan time), Mr. Mikio Numata, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar, held a press conference in Yangon, Myanmar and announced that the Government of Japan plans to support up to 10 billion JPY to Myanmar for the next five years depending on progress in the peace process, in order to achieve national reconciliation and improve livelihoods etc. particularly in conflict-affected areas. The specific details are as follows:
1. Based on the standpoint that peace between the Government of Myanmar and ethnic minorities is essential to Myanmar’s medium- to long-term stability and development, the Government of Japan welcomes the concessions that both sides are currently making toward the nationwide agreement on cease-fire in Myanmar. This was also discussed in the Japan-Myanmar Summit Meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and H.E. U Thein Sein, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on December 15 last year.
2. With this momentum as an opportunity, the Government of Japan recently decided that it plans to support up to 10 billion JPY in Myanmar for the next five years depending on progress in the peace process, in order to achieve national reconciliation as expeditiously as possible and have members of ethnic minorities gain the “fruits of peace,” and in order to improve livelihoods etc. particularly in conflict-affected areas.
3. This support totaling up to 10 billion JPY will be part of the Government of Japan’s support for Myanmar, which involves the implementation of broad and well-balanced assistance in the fields of (1) improvement of people’s livelihoods (including assistance for ethnic minorities and poverty groups as well as agricultural and rural development) , (2) capacity building, development of systems and institutions to sustain economy and society (including those for promotion of democratization) and (3) development of infrastructure and related systems necessary for the sustainable economic development.. It will be implemented alongside existing support.
4. From the standpoint of ensuring the safety of aid personnel, it is envisaged that the implementing organizations of this support will be Japanese civil organization that meet specific standards, such as having their activities in conflict-affected areas officially approved by the Government of Myanmar, and accepted by ethnic minorities.
5. Incidentally, Mr. Sasakawa has been working for peace between the government and ethnic minorities in Myanmar for many years, and since February last year he has been working actively as the Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar. The Government of Japan’s decision to provide the latest support was based in part on advice from Special Envoy Sasakawa’s experiences, and the Government of Japan intends to continue to cooperate closely with Special Envoy Sasakawa, and to further encourage moves toward peace while utilizing the latest support.